Mud bricks, or adobe, are one of the world’s oldest building materials. They are inexpensive, simple to make, environmentally friendly, and used all over the world to make low-cost homes and fireproof buildings.
Before you begin, make sure you clear out a dry area for making bricks. They could take several weeks to dry and need to be protected from the rain. Follow these simple steps to make your own mud bricks.
To begin, you need to collect enough loamy soil to make your bricks. Soil from the top or sides of a natural hill is a good source because it has withstood rain and erosion. You may even add some sand to your soil to improve the quality.
Sift the collected soil through the mesh screen to remove any stones that can weaken the bricks and cause them to crack.
Make the Mold
Use two 5-foot lengths of lumber for the sides and cut the third into six pieces, each 14-inches long. Nail these pieces to the two 5-foot lengths 10 inches apart. Your finished frame will resemble a ladder with molds for five bricks, each 10" x 14".
Dig a Pit
Use a wheelbarrow for mixing the soil if you want to make a few bricks, but you will need a pit for a larger project. Dig a large hole in the ground that is three feet deep. Fill the hole with water and allow it to drain out itself. This could take up to a day but is necessary because it will prevent the walls from crumbling during the mixing process.
Add the Soil and Mix
Fill the hole halfway up with soil. Fill your bucket with water and add to the soil, mixing with a hoe or shovel. Adding some straw or manure to prevent the bricks from cracking. Add enough water to make a thick mix.
Add Mixture to the Mold
Lay the Mold flat on to a dry ground and shovel mud into each section, filling it completely. Pat the top firmly with the back of the shovel to pack it in tightly and remove any air bubbles or excess water.
Allow the bricks to settle before carefully lifting the mold off. Move to another dry spot to make the next five bricks. Continue this process until you have enough bricks you need.
Wait at least two weeks before checking your sun-dried bricks. All the edges should turn white before you can use them, otherwise, they will crumble. You may have to wait three weeks before you can use your bricks.
Sun-dried bricks can last up to 30 years before they begin to crack, so you will need to fire them in a kiln if you want them to last longer. Now you are all set to begin your project.